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Sports

Pacquiao Presses Senatorial Campaign Despite Kidnap Threat

After receiving kidnapping threats by Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic State ally in the Philippines, the boxing star will continue to campaign for a seat in the Philippine Senate

Filipino boxer and Congressman Manny Pacquiao smiles as he answers questions from reporters upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, April 14, photo: AP/Aaron Favila
2 years ago

SAN PABLO, Philippines – Boxing star Manny Pacquiao pressed on with his campaign for a seat in the Philippine Senate on Thursday, barnstorming in a province south of Manila despite a reported militant plot to kidnap him.

Pacquiao had few visible security escorts as he campaigned in Laguna province, shaking hands and allowing mobs of villagers to take selfies with him.

Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, celebrates after defeating Timothy Bradley in their WBO welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, celebrates after defeating Timothy Bradley in their WBO welterweight title boxing bout Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. Photo: AP/John Locher

President Benigno Aquino III had revealed Wednesday that Abu Sayyaf militants may have plotted against his life and considered kidnapping Pacquiao and the president’s sister, who is a popular actress.

The 37-year-old Pacquiao, currently a congressman and among the wealthiest sports celebrities in the world, said the intelligence report about the alleged kidnap plot should have been given to him confidentially instead of being announced publicly.

“I doubt (the threat) but I’m not ignoring it,” he told reporters.

The latest voter preference surveys ahead of May 9 elections show Pacquiao has a strong chance of landing a Senate seat despite a considerable dip in his ratings weeks ago over a remark which gay and lesbian groups detested.

The Bible-quoting Pacquiao got embroiled in controversy in February for saying that people in same-sex relations are “worse than animals.” He apologized to people hurt by his comments but made clear he opposed same-sex marriage.

The eight-division champion is the Philippines’ most famous athlete. He has represented southern Sarangani province in the Philippines’ House of Representatives since May 2010, though he has drawn criticism for seldom showing up for legislative duties.

BULLIT MARQUEZ

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